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The Achievements of Two Sportsmen

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in exercise and fitness, originally published in issue 40 - May 1999

Last month I discussed sports nutrition from an holistic perspective and emphasised that optimum health, fitness, and performance can be achieved by considering four areas: the correct quantity, quality and balance of nutrients, a well functioning body, stress levels and emotions, and hopes and aspirations.

I would like to tell you two stories of sportsmen who followed these criteria to achieve their aspirations.

Firstly, a brief update on Tony, an insulin dependent diabetic, whom I wrote about in Issue 21. In the article I explained how changes to his diet and lifestyle allowed him to run the London Marathon in 3 hours 34 minutes. After this success he continued to follow his diet and worked very hard to reduce his high stress levels by making some major changes to his life. He continued with both his cycling and running training. In August 1998 he represented Great Britain, for duathalon, in the World Championships held in Germany. He came 6th in his age group in this country and 34th in the world. A major achievement.

Secondly, I would like to tell you about Chris, a very lively, energetic, vital 22 year old, who came to see me for help to achieve his goal of running "seven marathons in seven days". He was very motivated, focussed, and was willing to follow my recommendations fully.

Studying his case history it was obvious that Chris had a very good genetic disposition to health. He ate an extremely poor quality diet with a predominance of fat and sugar, and yet the only symptoms that he suffered from were poor digestion and elimination, and slight asthma, eczema and hay fever.

His training programme was as follows:

Every morning before breakfast – 30 minute slow run

Monday – 45 minute hill run

Tuesday – 1 hour 30 minute run

Wednesday – 1 hour resistance training and 1 hour 30 minute run

Thursday – 2 hour run

Friday –1 hour resistance training and 1 hour 30 minute run

Saturday – 2 hour 30 minute run

Sunday – Rest day

Initially, I recommended a rebalancing programme to improve the digestive and eliminative systems, and to target the asthma, eczema and hay fever. Chris followed a mild cleansing diet, whilst still training, using herbs and bio-acidophilus to increase the quantity of the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Other supplements taken were zinc, a quality multi vitamin and mineral without iron, and an antioxidant to counteract free radical activity. Dairy produce was eliminated and wheat was avoided for two weeks and then added to the diet on a rotational basis.

In the weeks prior to the multi-marathons, and during the 'Event' Chris ate approximately 3,800 calories estimated on his height, weight, training programme and body fat percentage. As he was a fast metaboliser the diet ratio worked out as 65% carbohydrate, amounting to 617 grams or 2,470 calories, 15% protein – 142 grams or 570 calories, and 20% fat – 84 grams or 760 calories. During the 'Event' protein and fat were marginally increased. Chris ate five meals each day, four of which contained vegetables to increase his vitamin and mineral intake. Protein in the form of chicken, eggs, beans, peas, lentils, oily and white fish, were combined at each meal, with quality carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, potatoes, brown rice and millet. Daily he ate 1½ tablespoons of cold pressed sunflower oil, a mixture of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseeds, and 4 pieces of fruit. He also drank lots of bottled mountain water every day.

After a couple of weeks Chris felt much healthier, his mild eczema and asthma were under control and he maintained this diet up to and during the 'Event'. We also focussed on the structure of the body, and the mind. For the structure of the body Chris had regular sports massages using aromatherapy oils to keep the joints and muscles in good condition. For the mind, relaxation techniques were followed daily.

During the week of the seven marathons timing was the key issue and his daily regime was as follows:

7 am Organic vitamin and mineral flakes with orange, peach, banana and water. Multi vitamin and mineral and an antioxidant.

8 am Porridge made with oat, rice and millet flakes topped with banana, nuts, seeds and soya milk

9.35 am Pre-sports massage using lavender and eucalyptus essential oils

9.55 am 5 minutes before the race – natural fruit and nut bar

10.00 am Start of the marathon. Rehydrating with fresh orange and water in the ratio 1/3 to 2/3

1.30 – 2.00 pm As soon as the race was completed a large banana to start to replace the glycogen stores. Organic vitamin and mineral flakes

2.00 – 4.00 pm 200gms of carbohydrate from rice cakes, fruit and nut bar, apple, grapes and wholemeal sandwich.

4.00 pm Leg massage using lavender and black pepper essential oils. Quick relaxation tape and rest.

7.00 pm Evening meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates

Evening Long soak in the bath

Before Bed Carbohydrate snack. 'Excel at Sport' subliminal hypnosis tape.

Each morning before the marathon I spoke to Chris on the telephone to help him maintain his motivation and focus.

Chris completed his seven marathons, each timed between 3.30 – 4.00 hours. This was a 'first' and his achievement will be documented in the Guinness Book of Records next year. Needless to say that he was tired afterwards, but recovered his energy very quickly.

However, his knees and ankles were swollen and inflamed and to prevent further injury Chris agreed to avoid running for three months as long as he could swim and use the stepper and rowing machines in the gym. He also took glucosamine sulphate to help to heal the cartilage and connective tissue. Three months later he was back to running.

Most of us would not want to aspire to such great feats, but I guess there is a nutritional factor to be learnt from these experiences – which is:

If you want to achieve your own personal optimum health and fitness you do not succumb to eating a sub optimum diet!

Reference Books

Gastelu, Daniel and Dr Fred Hatfield, Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance. Avery Publishing Group, 1997. ISBN 0 89529 7566.
Wildwood, Chrissie, Encyclopaedia of Aromatherapy. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 1997. ISBN 1 85627 8549.


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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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